Spirit-filled - Annual Catholic Charismatic rally is a time of learning, praise

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
Spirit-filled - Annual Catholic Charismatic rally is a time of learning, praise
Spirit-filled - Annual Catholic Charismatic rally is a time of learning, praise


By Joseph Sapia | Correspondent


Cheryl Wegner and her daughter were on the lookout. “We were just discussing, we needed something uplifting on the charismatic side,” said Wegner, of Howell.

Kati Wenger, also of Howell, told her mother to keep her eyes open.

Click HERE to view gallery of photos.

Then, in her job as the secretary for St. Veronica Parish, Howell, Cheryl Wegner had something come across her desk: information about the 2013 Diocese of Trenton Catholic Charismatic Rally, being held May 18 in Mary, Mother of God, Church, Middletown.

“I said, “Why don’t we go?’” Cheryl Wegner recalled.

And they did, joining about 800 others for a day of talks, praise and worship, musical entertainment and meals.

Kati Wegner said the idea of attending was to go beyond the everyday expressions of faith, and with a charismatic event, filled with the liveliness of music and discussion, “You usually walk away being spirit-filled,” Cheryl Wegner added.

The annual event is “really to remind us of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives,” said Father Jeff Kegley, pastor, St. Mary Parish, and liaison to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. In his welcome, Father Kegley told attendees, “When we praise God, we empty our agenda in our hearts” to open them for God’s agenda.”

In its ninth year, the event has grown significantly from 200 attendees in the first year, Father Kegley said.

“They know they’re going to leave inspired, filled with the Holy Spirit to do mission,” Father Kegley said. “We’re focused on all generations. It’s not your grandparents’ renewal anymore. It’s for all generations.”

The day-long event included prayer and worship opportunities, tracks for a variety of age groups, Mass and several speakers, including Jim Murphy, a Michigan-based Catholic evangelist, who offered the key note presentation.

“At the end of the day, faith isn’t taught, it’s caught,” Murphy told those gathered. “…Let’s go out there and proclaim the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Murphy, who recommended talking up Jesus, turning words into action and “… particularly in the areas of mercy and justice,” also facilitated a track for men.

Sessions for women were led by Red Bank-based psychologist and lay ecclesial minister from Holy Cross Parish, Rumson, Adriane Gulotta-Gsell who passed out notes, “Keys for Spirit-filled Women,” suggesting such things as praying; leaving behind emotional, spiritual and behavioral clutter while focusing on positives; and being resilient to problems through the Holy Spirit.

“Whatever suffering you’re in, ask the Holy Spirit, ‘How do I handle this?’” Gulotta-Gsell advised.

In addition to an all-day Life Teen track for youth, there was a Children’s Ministry track for those ages 3 to 11. As young volunteers in the children’s ministry explained, the time was meant to encourage children “to talk about God and all the stuff about him.”

Robert Rodriguez, a member of St. Mary Parish, said he was attending, “because in the last 10 years, I’ve rediscovered Catholicism. I’ve made a pact to become a little closer to the Lord.”

Rodriguez said he was expecting “a little spiritual fulfillment.”

“It’s always good to hear (other) viewpoints” on faith and religion, Rodriguez said.

One of the things Cheryl Wegner picked up after listening to Murphy’s keynote address was being filled with a love of Jesus.

“If you’re truly in love with Jesus, you’re not going to have any qualms talking about him,” Cheryl Wegner said. “Just have to work on love of Jesus more strongly. I’m bursting at the seams to share.”

Kati Wegner noted how Murphy talked about St. Francis’ example of expressing a love of Jesus through the way one treats others.

The Mass, celebrated by Father Kegley, with Dan Dirkes, music minister from St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton, serving as worship leader, was an inspirational and expressive experience of worship with body, voice and heart.

“We receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism and we want to be on that high,” Father Kegley said in his homily. “… Nobody can proclaim Jesus as Lord unless it’s proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

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By Joseph Sapia | Correspondent


Cheryl Wegner and her daughter were on the lookout. “We were just discussing, we needed something uplifting on the charismatic side,” said Wegner, of Howell.

Kati Wenger, also of Howell, told her mother to keep her eyes open.

Click HERE to view gallery of photos.

Then, in her job as the secretary for St. Veronica Parish, Howell, Cheryl Wegner had something come across her desk: information about the 2013 Diocese of Trenton Catholic Charismatic Rally, being held May 18 in Mary, Mother of God, Church, Middletown.

“I said, “Why don’t we go?’” Cheryl Wegner recalled.

And they did, joining about 800 others for a day of talks, praise and worship, musical entertainment and meals.

Kati Wegner said the idea of attending was to go beyond the everyday expressions of faith, and with a charismatic event, filled with the liveliness of music and discussion, “You usually walk away being spirit-filled,” Cheryl Wegner added.

The annual event is “really to remind us of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives,” said Father Jeff Kegley, pastor, St. Mary Parish, and liaison to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. In his welcome, Father Kegley told attendees, “When we praise God, we empty our agenda in our hearts” to open them for God’s agenda.”

In its ninth year, the event has grown significantly from 200 attendees in the first year, Father Kegley said.

“They know they’re going to leave inspired, filled with the Holy Spirit to do mission,” Father Kegley said. “We’re focused on all generations. It’s not your grandparents’ renewal anymore. It’s for all generations.”

The day-long event included prayer and worship opportunities, tracks for a variety of age groups, Mass and several speakers, including Jim Murphy, a Michigan-based Catholic evangelist, who offered the key note presentation.

“At the end of the day, faith isn’t taught, it’s caught,” Murphy told those gathered. “…Let’s go out there and proclaim the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Murphy, who recommended talking up Jesus, turning words into action and “… particularly in the areas of mercy and justice,” also facilitated a track for men.

Sessions for women were led by Red Bank-based psychologist and lay ecclesial minister from Holy Cross Parish, Rumson, Adriane Gulotta-Gsell who passed out notes, “Keys for Spirit-filled Women,” suggesting such things as praying; leaving behind emotional, spiritual and behavioral clutter while focusing on positives; and being resilient to problems through the Holy Spirit.

“Whatever suffering you’re in, ask the Holy Spirit, ‘How do I handle this?’” Gulotta-Gsell advised.

In addition to an all-day Life Teen track for youth, there was a Children’s Ministry track for those ages 3 to 11. As young volunteers in the children’s ministry explained, the time was meant to encourage children “to talk about God and all the stuff about him.”

Robert Rodriguez, a member of St. Mary Parish, said he was attending, “because in the last 10 years, I’ve rediscovered Catholicism. I’ve made a pact to become a little closer to the Lord.”

Rodriguez said he was expecting “a little spiritual fulfillment.”

“It’s always good to hear (other) viewpoints” on faith and religion, Rodriguez said.

One of the things Cheryl Wegner picked up after listening to Murphy’s keynote address was being filled with a love of Jesus.

“If you’re truly in love with Jesus, you’re not going to have any qualms talking about him,” Cheryl Wegner said. “Just have to work on love of Jesus more strongly. I’m bursting at the seams to share.”

Kati Wegner noted how Murphy talked about St. Francis’ example of expressing a love of Jesus through the way one treats others.

The Mass, celebrated by Father Kegley, with Dan Dirkes, music minister from St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton, serving as worship leader, was an inspirational and expressive experience of worship with body, voice and heart.

“We receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism and we want to be on that high,” Father Kegley said in his homily. “… Nobody can proclaim Jesus as Lord unless it’s proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

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